February, 2016 Global

Goya's painting, Duelo a garrotazos, Courtesey Prado Museum/wikimedia

By Scott Gates and Håvard Mokleiv Nygård and Håvard Strand and Henrik Urdal for Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

Today, Scott Gates et al. provide us with an updated statistical portrait of armed conflict since World War II. As to be expected, it’s a good news-bad news story. The number of conflicts in the world rose in 2013-2014, but they were lower than in the early 1990s. In turn, casualties reached a 25-year high, but they remained far below Cold War levels.


Global water scarcity is far more severe than previously thought
By May Bulman / The Independent

Four billion people live under conditions of severe water shortages at least one month of the year, according to new research.Nearly half of these people live in India and China, according to astudy by Science Advances. Other populations facing severe water scarcity live in Bangladesh, the United States (mostly in western states), Pakistan and Nigeria.


GWYNNE DYER, The Japan Times
LONDON – “The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent,” said John Maynard Keynes (or maybe it wasn’t him, but no matter). At any rate, that was the eternal verity the Saudi Arabians were counting on when they decided to let oil production rip — and the oil price collapse — in late 2014.

By John Wight

 "Information Clearing House" - "Counterpunch " - In Ankara and Riyadh a decent night’s sleep must be hard to come by nowadays, what with the prospects of the Sunni state they’d envisaged being established across a huge swathe of Syria slipping away in the face of an offensive by Syrian government forces that is sweeping all before it north of Aleppo, threatening to completely sever supply lines from Turkey to opposition forces in and around the city, and all but ensuring that its liberation is now a question of when not if.

 Hillary_Kissinger_AP_img

Clinton just can’t quit him. Even as she is trying to outflank Bernie on his left, Hillary Clinton can’t help but stutter the name of Henry Kissinger. Last night in the New Hampshire debate, Clinton thought to close her argument that she is the true progressive with this: “I was very flattered when Henry Kissinger said I ran the State Department better than anybody had run it in a long time.”

 

In “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” the soaring and chilling speech he delivered the day before his assassination, Martin Luther King Jr. ponders the thought of life in other places and times.Among other eras in history, he considers the prime of classical Athens, when he could have enjoyed the company of luminaries “around the Parthenon as they discussed the great and eternal issues of reality,” along with “the great heyday of the Roman Empire.”


Kim R. Holmes
For the last seven years we have witnessed an unprecedented experiment based on a fundamental question: What would the world look like if the United States pulled back from its traditional leadership role? That was after all, the key thrust of President Barack Obama’s new foreign policy. He promised to embark on a radically new way of dealing with the world—one where we would “engage” our enemies rather than confront them.